Book Review

#7 Book Review

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SENSE AND SENSIBILITY

by Jane Austen

“I wish, as well as everybody else, to be perfectly happy; but, like everybody else, it must be in my own way.”

Genre: Romance, Novel

Here I am again this month reviewing Jane Austen.

If you want to read about her life, click here on the link of the previous novel of her I wrote Pride and Prejudice.

The Dashwood sisters, Elinor and Marrianne, – the two heroines of the novel – live with Mrs. Dashwood, their mother and Margaret, their younger sister.

When Mr. Dashwood dies, he leaves the decision of their care in the hands of his son, John, who has never played the role of a compassionate step-brother to his father’s other family.

John is not an evil character, but I consider him guilty because of the way in which he behaved towards his family.

His being weak in character makes his wife’s tyranny possible.

She, a hateful character,  convinces him to take the house of the earl Mr.Dashwood forcing his husband mother and sisters to move.

Sir John Middleton, Mrs.Dashwood’s cousin, offers the family to live in a small cottage, Barton Park, for as long as they shall like.

Since this moment the female part of the Dashwood family get in touch with interesting new characters that will be part of their lives and thoughts for the entire novel.

I definitely fell in love with the way in which Jane Austen gives life to the two main heroines of her novel, I could read it again and again, for sure.

I do always consider her as one of the most brilliant authors ever, because she really involves you into the story, in an almost physical contact with her characters as if they really existed in the past, and now we can read their affairs and troubles thanks to Jane Austen’s novels.

Elinor and Marianne are a remarkable fictional representation of the particular relationship between two sisters, and it is not crucial the fact that the events narrated are set in the past (seventieth century), because they easily represent all the sisters around the globe.

There are moments in which their relationship is peaceful and tender, they live in harmony despite being different in character, but there are other moments in which their differences clash.

Around the lives of the Dashwood sisters there are many other lives which are immediately connected to theirs; Edward’s, Colonel Brandon’s and Lucy’s, for example.

Unfortunately, I can’t say too much about Lucy because I don’t want to spoil the story to anyone who has not read the novel yet, but the only thing I can say – and I do want to say it – is that I couldn’t stand her since her very first arrival into the story.

I can’t explain why, but do trust me – it won’t be hard to understand my motive for whoever has read it.

Colonel Brandon is simply adorable; I immediately considered him as one of the most right and well behaving character among all the others, he belongs – for me – to that particular kind of people who are “innocent”.

I won’t spoil you anything by saying that he is in love with Marianne – you will come to know it almost at the very beginning of the novel – and he keeps on loving her despite her unjust behaviour towards him.

He is one of those persons who can’t help giving love despite not receiving any in return.

He is too good spirited, it’s his nature, his own way of being.

Edward, on the contrary, is too weak to be a sort of pre-Mr.Darcy (it’s a definition of mine).

What I mean is that he is in a way too scared to act according to his feelings, while Colonel Brandon is always directed by his feelings (not only towards Marianne) but he never acts in an inappropriate manner.

Fanny, John Dashwood’s wife, is all evil.

Like Lucy, though for different reasons, she is another character I couldn’t stand at all.

But I won’t waste my words for her, so, let’s go on.

A particular interesting element I noticed while reading this novel is that Elinor and Marianne are, from my personal point of view, a prelude to the two main Bennet sisters – Elizabeth and Jane.

The strong attachment between Jane and Elizabeth (from Pride and Prejudice, find the review here #5BookReview) is similar to the one of the Dashwood sisters.

As I mentioned earlier, Sense and Sensibility was published in 1811, two years before Pride and Prejudice, so, I’m quite convinced of my analysis.

Another relevant aspect, and character, of the story is what I call the Willoughby’s affair; also in this case I must be careful not to spoil anything, but throughout the novel there is a pivotal parallel story between Marianne and this mysterious Willoughby.

I can limit myself just saying that he is the representation of a mysterious, attractive young man whom almost every girl/woman has met in her life, but who didn’t bring any good or positive change in our lives.

Damn him!

There are other characters who will interact with the Dashwood sisters until the last page, and it’s now your turn to discover who they are.

Sense and Sensibility is, for me, like all the other novels of Jane Austen; her stories really steal your heart, and when they are finished you feel like you are lost.

I wish a part two existed  – written by Jane Austen – to know what happened to all these characters after the sad words The End.

I read it at breakfast, before going to bed, on the beach, and wherever I was, I had the strange feeling of knowing them as real people, as if I had just met them in the street.

They all are a sort of neighbourhood of whom we come to know everything.

Their lives are the centre of the rumours we hear about.

I do recommend it, it was an immense pleasure to be carried into Jane Austen pages also this time.

The atmosphere and the magic of her pen still reach our hearts.

While reading, find out who is the emotional character and who is the rational one.

Enjoy your reading.

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